The city of Portland, Oregon has more craft breweries per capita than anywhere else in America. That makes this West Coast city a required destination for beer lovers from across the country and beyond. According to local beer magazine, Oregon Craft Beer, there are at least 56 breweries in the city of Portland, 76 in the Portland metro area, 30 in Central Oregon, 21 in the nearby city of Bend, and 12 in nearby Eugene.
To help you find a starting point in your craft beer tour, these are a few of the best craft breweries to visit in Portland. I’ve made it to a several of these already, and plan to hit up the rest when I return in the near future!
Lucky Labrador Brewing
Dogs are prevalent and welcome all over the city of Portland, and the Lucky Labrador celebrates the city’s love for canine pals. Lucky Labrador Brewing has been around since 1994 and the one in Hawthorne is the original of its four expanded locations. This is a great place to sit outside with a sampler flight on a nice day and to grab a bite to eat. The pulled pork sandwich is a local favorite!
Bridgeport Brew Pub
The Bridgeport Brew Pub is the oldest craft brewery in Oregon, but that doesn’t mean it’s outdated or losing popularity at all. You can find this brewery in an old industrial building that’s covered in ivy in the Pearl District. This is a popular place to grab a drink and dinner after the city’s First Thursday Art Walk. Try one of the wood-fired pizzas or pick one of the vegan options on the menu to accompany your brew of choice.
Hopworks Urban Brewery
Just as Portland enjoys its dogs, the city also has a strong biking culture. Not only does Hopworks Urban Brewery encourage patrons to bike instead of drive to its pub, but it even has a stationary bike on site! Hop on and help power the brewery’s electricity and you’ll earn yourself a free pint! Hopworks is located in the Williams neighborhood in Southeast Portland, and it’s also a great place to eat if you’re a vegetarian.
Storm Breaker Brewing
Storm Breaker Brewing is located in the historic and trendy Mississippi Avenue District of Portland, and it has a very chill atmosphere, both inside and in outside seating area. Feel free to bring your dog with you on the patio! Storm Breaker is a nickname for Mount Hood, which towers in the distance of Portland and is known to break storms coming off of the Pacific Ocean. And if you’re not into beer, you can also order a specialty house cocktail, a uniquely-designed burger, or the daily grilled cheese special.
Deschutes Brewery and Public House
Although the actual brewing facility for Deschutes is located Bend, Oregon, this brewery is so popular that it has multiple locations. The Portland pub is located in the posh Pearl District and has 19 Deschutes beers on tap. This pub gets very busy on evenings and weekends, but unfortunately, reservations are not accepted. Even non-beer-drinkers flock here because of the food, which is focused on all-natural, seasonal, sustainable, locally-sourced, and homemade ingredients.
Rogue Distillery and Public House
Another famous must-drink location for brew lovers visiting Oregon is Rogue. The actual Rogue Brewery is located in Ashland, Oregon but if you don’t have time to make it out that way, stop by the Rogue Public House in Portland. Rogue is a huge institution in the Pacific Northwest, and the brewery has locations in Newport, Astoria, Eugene, San Francisco, and Issaquah, Washington. Portland’s Rogue Distillery and Public House is open 365 days a year, has 38 beers on tap, and allows dogs on the patio.
Occidental Brewing Co.
The Occidental Brewing Company is located in North Portland and is well-known for its German-style beers. Soak up the historic vibe of the St. John’s neighborhood and the nearby bridges of the city. The atmosphere is friendly, and although the brewery doesn’t serve food, you’re welcome to bring in something from home or a nearby restaurant. If you’re not yet familiar with Occidental brews, consider trying a 4-ounce sampler of the beers they have on tap to decide which one’s your favorite.
Cascade Brewing Barrel House
You can visit the Cascade Brewing Barrel House in the Southeast section of Portland and enjoy the large, friendly patio. If you’ve never tried a sour beer before, this is the place to do so because the brewers have become somewhat famous for their sour creations. As the name suggests, Cascade also specializes in barrel aged beers, which tend to be stronger and a little more expensive. You can find some very unique brews at Cascade and order some food while you’re at it too.
Located in North Portland, Upright Brewing has a no-frills tasting room in the basement of a business building. Although it’s small, it’s incredibly friendly and a must for beer geeks. The brewmasters here are knowledgeable about their craft and love what they do. You can usually find about a dozen beers on tap, and the prices are very reasonable. But remember to bring cash, because Upright doesn’t accept credit cards!
Oregon Public House
Although the Oregon Public House doesn’t actually brew its own beer, it makes our list because it’s the first nonprofit pub in the world – with 100% of the profits going to charity. This pub partners with a variety of charities that work to improve social justice, community and environmental needs. The charities are responsible for bringing in volunteers to work at the pub when the organization is being featured, meet fundraising goals, and handle promotions. Recently supported charities include Braking Cycles, a local youth outreach program, and the Red Sweater Project, a nonprofit that assists children in Tanzania.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed in Portland’s craft beer scene, but fortunately, there are lots of local experts who are willing to be your guide. And with so many breweries to tour and taste in town, some obvious safety concerns come to mind.
Hop on a guided BrewCycle to pedal off some of those empty calories while getting from Point A to Z a little safer. Current BrewCycle stops are the Lucky Labrador, Lompoc Brewing, Bridgeport, Pints, and Old Town Brewing Company. And while you’re in town, try to catch one of the city’s huge beer festivals, like the Oregon Brewers Festival, North American Organic Brewers Festival and the Portland International Beerfest.
*A version of this article was published in an online travel magazine I write for, Trips to Discover.